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Take The Swings Out Of SOP

Fri, 04/18/2008 - 9:15am
Anna Wells, Editor

Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

"Whether the application is engine production, preventive maintenance, or golf, there is something to be said for doing it right the first time, and every time, because you've taken the time to ensure consistency." -Anna Wells

As you’ve probably noticed by the artistic design of this month’s cover, IMPO had the opportunity to visit the facility of a known golf car manufacturer, E-Z-GO, for the April cover story.

This, coupled with the fact that the weather is becoming somewhat more tolerable (in Wisconsin we are starting to see grass), has gotten me thinking about all of the exciting things I will be doing within the next month or two—namely, my golf game.

Jeff (IMPO’s editorial director) and I were discussing this subject after his visit to the E-Z-GO facility. He explained to me the problems with his drive, and I explained to him the problems with my short game. I moved onto the topic that’s occupied me at the start of the last three golf seasons: the right fade on my drive that's caused me to consistently spend the first eight weeks of every spring, back on the driving range trying to fix it.

Each year, after weeks of small adjustments to my grip and stance, I get back into my groove, and the problem rights itself. Still… I have a nagging feeling that this season will be no different, and that I will struggle with the fade again.

No matter what, the hard work I spend on fixing this never seems to outweigh the inherent laziness of my own brain: malaise sets in, and the stance and grip I’d perfected once again gets lost in a winter fog. Suddenly, it’s spring again, and I’m back at square one, fumbling with my driver, and audibly cursing.

This got me thinking about an acronym we’ve all heard a million times—SOP. As plant management, SOP (standard operating procedure) is built into everything you do, whether it’s physically documented or not. But sometimes, it’s the documentation that takes SOP from the status of a fairly good habit, to an unwavering way of life.

Often we need to remind ourselves, as I do, that SOP may not be best utilized when relegated to our memory banks as some sort of an intuition. I can tell myself I 'just know how it’s done' on the golf course, but the fact of the matter is, I need a few reminders now and then as to which techniques work the best, and why. Instead of trying to 'know' my golf game, it stands to reason that I could do with some basic note-taking.

Whether the application is engine production, preventive maintenance, or golf, there is something to be said for doing it right the first time, and every time, because you've taken the time to ensure consistency.

I’m going to make a concerted effort to be sure that this spring will be the last one where I waste eight weeks working out the bugs in something I already know how to do. Hopefully, the proactive development of a standard operating procedure will prove as a preventive technique to keep my swing consistent for the long haul.

Update: Thanks to all of you readers who contacted me with car advice after March’s column "A Lesson From My Dashboard," regarding my persistent “Check Engine” light. My car is in good shape, and I hope to get the same great advice on my golf swing.

Comments? Email IMPO Editor, Anna Wells: anna.wells@advantagemedia.com.
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